A longtime bachelor finally marries — only to learn the corrosive power of jealousy .
For fifty-five years, Kenneth Gibson has lived in backwaters. A former army clerk, he makes a quiet living teaching poetry to indifferent undergrads. His life is happily dull until the day he meets Rosemary, a damaged girl whose frailty compels Kenneth to try to make her well. They wed, and as Rosemary recovers from her depression, Gibson falls in love, transforming his world. But his wife will never love him.
She is smitten with their landlord, a dashing young chemical engineer named Paul. Gibson wants to let her go, but he cannot bear to be parted with the first love he has ever known. In Paul's house is a case of poison, and this love triangle can only end in death.